23 year-old University Student Daniel Chong underwent the ordeal of a life time this week, after DEA officials FORGOT him in a 5x5x10 holding cell for five days without food or water. Chong’s story sounds like something you would expect from a spy novel, the ordeal undergone by someone thought to be a terrorist or a prisoner of war trapped deep in enemy territory, not a US university student who got caught rolling a joint!
He was at a friend’s house in University City, San Diego, to celebrate 20th April, which is a day that several marijuana users set aside to do a lot of smoking! Agents came into the house and searched the residence. Chong was taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa, where he was questioned briefly by officials before being told he would not be charged and was free to go. One of the officers even offered him a ride home, but he did not get to go home that night and was instead placed in a small windowless holding cell without any access to food, water or even a toilet for FIVE days!
Chong resorted to drinking his own urine in order to survive, by the third day of his ordeal, he had started hallucinating, even claiming to have seen Japanese style animated characters who told him to dig into walls on his quest for water. Chong spent many futile hours clawing away at the plastic lining on the walls waiting for water to come flooding out of the walls. After the third day, he became so weak he thought about trying to take his own life to end the ordeal.
Adamant that he was going to die in the cell he smashed his eyeglasses and tried to carve an apology to his mother into his arm, he managed an ‘s’ for sorry, but was too weak to continue any further.
On the fifth day, an officer opened the door at random and found Chong there, covered in his own feces, severely dehydrated and at this point suffering kidney failure. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he spent three days in intensive care and a further two days on the wards. Doctors claim that if he had been left there any longer, he could have died.
The incident however has scarred Chong, in a news interview he said it was ‘inconceivable’ and is trying to get some answers as to how this would be allowed to happen. His attorneys have filed a $20 million claim against the DEA stating that his treatment amounts to torture under US and international law.
The DEA have apologized to Chong for the incident and promised a full investigation into the matter.
(Via Boing Boing)